• Marchesk
    1.6k
    But as far as I can see "synthetic a priori judgements" are just a long-winded way of saying "sentiments".unenlightened

    But since Hume was an empiricist, isn't he ceding ground to rationalism here by saying we have a sentiment toward causality? He's admitted there's something fundamental in our thought processes which we use to make sense of the world that doesn't come from sensory experience.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    He's admitted there's something fundamental in our thought processes which we use to make sense of the world that doesn't come from sensory experience.Marchesk
    Indeed, and this is precisely Kant's point. Kant thinks that Hume is right about this:

    "That which effects that the content of the phenomenon can be arranged under certain relations, I call its form. But that in which sensations are merely arranged, and by which they are susceptible of assuming a certain form, cannot be itself sensation. It is, then, the matter of all phenomena that is given to us a posteriori; the form must lie ready a priori for them in the mind, and consequently can be regarded separately from all sensation."

    So indeed these forms, Kant would say, cannot come from sensory experience, they are the forms of sensory experience, and as such its conditions of possibility. But they are not, as Hume would say, merely psychological habit associations. Why?

    Because "the conception of a cause so plainly involves the conception of a necessity of connection with an effect, and of a strict universality of the law, that the very notion of a cause would entirely disappear, were we to derive it, like Hume, from a frequent association of what happens with what precedes"

    And also because without such forms existing a priori, sensory experience itself would be impossible. That follows from these forms being required for experience and these forms not originating from experience itself.
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    It is a priori. Why? Because it is universal and absolutely necessary, you cannot conceive it being otherwise.

    Where am I wrong?
    Agustino

    Right there. I can perfectly well conceive of separate domains of any number of dimensions, euclidian and non-euclidian, such that one cannot draw any line between a point in one and a point in another. For example, in spherical geometry, there is a point (the centre) to which no line can be drawn, because the geometry is of the surface of the sphere or hypersphere.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    For example, in spherical geometry, there is a point (the centre) to which no line can be drawn, because the geometry is of the surface of the sphere or hypersphere.unenlightened
    Hmmm...

    In spherical geometry, assuming we're talking about an intrinsic as opposed to an extrinsic curvature of space, there would be no point at the centre of the sphere would there? I mean, if space itself is in the shape of a sphere, then there is no other space to contain that point in the centre of it, is there? Or am I wrong?
  • unenlightened
    1.7k
    In spherical geometry, assuming we're talking about an intrinsic as opposed to an extrinsic curvature of space, there would be no point at the centre of the sphere would there? I mean, if space itself is in the shape of a sphere, then there is no other space to contain that point in the centre of it, is there? Or am I wrong?Agustino

    We can argue about it. In a sense you are right, because the centre would be postulated to exist in 'another (higher) dimension', outside the geometric space. But I think the point is already made, that what is conceivable or inconceivable varies according to how daring one's thinking is.

    it is universal and absolutely necessary, you cannot conceive it being otherwise.Agustino

    I think we have already conceived it being otherwise.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    We can argue about it. In a sense you are right, because the centre would be postulated to exist in 'another (higher) dimension', outside the geometric space. But I think the point is already made, that what is conceivable or inconceivable varies according to how daring one's thinking is.unenlightened
    Okay, but then we've just moved the problem one step further no? I mean from the POV of this higher dimensional space that contains the geometric space we're talking about, any point can be connected to any other point by a line no? The only way this wouldn't be possible is if we're dealing again with a non-Euclidean space stuck in a higher dimension space. But at some point, we would obviously have to stop with adding dimensions no? Otherwise, we'd have an infinite regress. So when we do that, it seems to me that the postulate still holds absolutely true, no?

    So I think Kant's point still holds. I see that the judgement does have absolute necessity, though it may lack universality.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.9k
    There doesn't need to be a temporal progression. The cause is logically, though not temporarily, prior to the effect. Why logically? Because the cause must contain the effect within it, and not the other way around.Agustino

    If you analyze "logical priority" you will see that the only valid way that something can be prior to another is that it is temporally prior. The claim that there is a logical priority which is not reducible to a temporal priority, would have to be justified either by examples and demonstrations, or else by some logical argument which demonstrated such. In the case of the former, all examples of priority will be demonstrated to be actually temporal priority or else the claim of "priority" will not be justified. In the case of the latter, if you have a logical argument which demonstrates that there is a type of priority which is not a temporal priority, then produce it.

    No, that doesn't tell me that it's not simultaneous, that just tells me that one is cause and the other is effect.Agustino

    It can be demonstrated quite easily. Try it yourself. There is no line until after the pencil moves. Prior to movement the pencil is at a point and there is no line. After the pencil moves there is a line. The line does not appear until after the pencil moves.

    The pencil can move without creating a line - if it doesn't move while in contact with, say, a page. A line cannot move a pencil, since it doesn't have that potency. Only a pencil has the potency of creating a line when moved on a paper. But the creation of the line and the movement of the pencil are simultaneous temporarily, though not logically, as explained above.Agustino

    Yes, the creation of the line is simultaneous with the movement of the pencil, the two are the same thing. However, the creation of the line is necessarily temporally prior to the existence of the line. The existence, or "being" of a thing is completely distinct from the "becoming" of that thing. And, the becoming of the thing, by which process the thing comes to be, is temporally prior to the being of the thing.
  • T Clark
    1.2k
    I have never understood the idea that causation does not exist. Causation is a deeply commonsensical idea. Sure, we can mistake correlation for causation, but the ideas of causation and correlation are very different. If I throw a rock at a glass window, the window breaks. There is a transfer of momentum and energy from the rock to the glass. The energy transfer changes the motion of the components of the glass causing stresses that exceed the strength of the material.

    Isn't that the common sense meaning of "cause," at least in a physical sense - a transfer of momentum and energy manifested as a change in velocity.
  • Marchesk
    1.6k
    If you analyze "logical priority" you will see that the only valid way that something can be prior to another is that it is temporally prior.Metaphysician Undercover

    Some things can't come to exist without the priors. Babies exist because of mothers. Life exists because of chemistry. Chemistry exists because of physics. In fact, chemistry has a close mathematical relationship to physics. The physics of atoms dictate that molecules will form under the right conditions.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.9k
    Some things can't come to exist without the priors.Marchesk

    Are these "priors" not temporally prior? If the "prior" is necessary for the existence of the thing, then isn't the prior necessarily temporally prior to the existence of the thing
  • Marchesk
    1.6k
    Are these "priors" not temporally prior? If the "prior" is necessary for the existence of the thing, then isn't the prior necessarily temporally prior to the existence of the thingMetaphysician Undercover

    Right, but it's not the the temporal priority that is sufficient, it's the nature of the prior. If the universe was filled only with inert gasses, then their prior existence would not lead to any chemistry.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.9k
    Sufficiency is irrelevant. The question was whether there is a type of priority which is not a temporal priority. Augustine suggested that there could be something which is logically prior to something else, without being temporally prior to it. The claim was that in the case of efficient cause, the cause is logically prior to the effect, but not temporally prior to the effect, the cause and effect are claimed to be simultaneous.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    Yes, the creation of the line is simultaneous with the movement of the pencil, the two are the same thing.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yep, exactly. The cause is the movement of the pencil, and the effect is the creation of the line.

    However, the creation of the line is necessarily temporally prior to the existence of the line.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes, but the creation of the line does not cause the (continued) existence of the line. There are other happenings which ensure that the line's existence continues, and these don't have to do with its creation. The line must be sustained into being, and that's different from being created.

    So yes, the becoming of the thing is temporarily prior to its being. So what? :s

    It can be demonstrated quite easily. Try it yourself. There is no line until after the pencil moves. Prior to movement the pencil is at a point and there is no line. After the pencil moves there is a line. The line does not appear until after the pencil moves.Metaphysician Undercover
    Take it another way. The pencil is the cause of a point on the paper. The pencil touching the paper, and a point appearing on the paper are simultaneous, not temporarily separate.

    In the case of the latter, if you have a logical argument which demonstrates that there is a type of priority which is not a temporal priority, then produce it.Metaphysician Undercover
    Yes, there is a priority in terms of potency and act. The line (or point or whatever) is a potency of the pencil which actually exists. This logical asymmetry between the two is what guarantees the logical priority of one over the other. That is why the pencil can cause the line, but the line cannot cause the pencil.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.4k
    So I think Kant's point still holds. I see that the judgement does have absolute necessity, though it may lack universality. — Agustino

    That's an issue for Kant because his position ascribes the universal quality to it. Supposedly, it is the necessary connection lost between casual states in Hume's argument: the absence of a universality law which accounts for how they hold.

    Without universality, "causality" disappears. No longer can we begin with a rule of form (e.g. the sun rises in the morning) which will pick out a necessary event in existence. We might have a sun that does not rise, no matter how often we've seen one rise. Causes an effect are still so, but they are only present in terms of what the states themselves do, rather than an extra layer of "causality" where logic determines a necessary relationship.

    One is left with the Humean position Kant is attacking-- a world of interacting states which have no necessity by logical form. Only when existence is taken into account ( this sun, at this moment ) do the necessary logical expressions of state appear (e.g.the sun that rises necessarily rises. Outside of this, it is not defined whether a sun rises or not).
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    That's an issue for Kant because his position ascribes the universal quality to it.TheWillowOfDarkness
    I don't think so. This is what Kant says:

    "Now, in the first place, if we have a proposition which contains the idea of necessity in its very conception, it is a if, moreover, it is not derived from any other proposition, unless from one equally involving the idea of necessity, it is absolutely priori [...] Necessity and strict universality, therefore, are infallible tests for distinguishing pure from empirical knowledge [...] But as in the use of these criteria the empirical limitation is sometimes more easily detected than the contingency of the judgement, or the unlimited universality which we attach to a judgement is often a more convincing proof than its necessity, it may be advisable to use the criteria separately, each being by itself infallible."
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    So you and @unenlightened haven't yet shown that Euclid's first postulate isn't a priori, since its absolute necessity is still there, unshaken. And as indicated above, Kant thought that either universality or necessity are sufficient, by themselves, to indicate a priori nature.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.4k


    Right... but that's the problem: the "causality" Kant is talking about is not an empirical state. We don't, as Hume was at pains to point out, observe "casualty" in the world. Our encounters are with the states.

    Kant is after more than this, some logical connection, some pure and infallible knowledge which amounts to a necessitating of a causal relationship, such they our not just states doing their own random dance. The empirically defined account, the presence of states in relation, is exactly what Kant finds inadequate and is seeking to get beyond.
  • Agustino
    8.7k
    the "causality" Kant is talking about is not an empirical state.TheWillowOfDarkness
    Does Kant ever say it is? No. He agrees with Hume that causality is added by the mind. And in some sense, Kant absolutely has to be right. Modern neuroscience does back up the idea that we do create a model of the world, which is what we actually perceive. For example, phenomena such as the phantom limb, etc. illustrate precisely this, that causality (at least to a certain extent) is added by the mind.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.4k


    For sure: that's the issue. In both cases, "causality" is viewed as some sort of logical force, with Hume noting it's not apparent in empirical observations, so rejecting it as an account of the empirical.

    The problem is precisely that Kant doesn't view "causality" as as an empirical matter. In doing so, he supposes cause and effect functions by the means of a logical universal (rather than states just doing whatever they do at "random" ). It means he takes that logical universal (the model of the world) is doing the work of being the states in question, that those states are so by this logical rule rather than just in terms of the states themselves.

    Your account of Kant's epistemology/ontology is iffy. Kant doesn't take our models literally are the things with see. For Kant, our models are not constitutive of things we experience, of the things-in-themsleves. My model "the sun will rise tomorrow" is never the sun that rises. It's not that our experience of the sun constructs the sun, but instead that our experience of the sun is our construction (literally our existence, rather than anything we might be aware of).

    In his account of phenomena, Kant's is pointing out our experience is us, such that any account of secret knowledge which is both phenomenal (for us) but beyond us is incoherent. He's pointing out our knowledge can only be our own, not claiming our minds create the things we encounter.

    Unfortunately, this is not any sort of account of either causality or ontology. Kant's mistake (or maybe more so, the mistake of many readers of Kant) was to fail to properly recognise he was talking about us, about our knowledge, rather than the actions of things we perceive. Cause and effect does not need us to occur. Our minds, in the sense of being awareness of logic meaning, are not involved at all. It's other things which are doing it-- the sun, a ball thrown through a window, someone's body producing a state experience of a limb which isn't there, etc. The doing of cause and effect is another life entirely.

    Thinking about causality in terms of the things, we find Hume's rejection of "causality" is coherent. If other things are cause and effect, then they don't need our models to be defined. They will be what they are, expressing their logical relations on account of there own being-- a sun which rises will be so no matter what humans might think or model, same for a sun which does not rise. Neither state of a sun is defined by our models. "Causality" isn't needed to form causal relationships. The action of one state bringing about another, appearing as a correlation, is always enough.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.9k
    So yes, the becoming of the thing is temporarily prior to its being. So what?Agustino

    You were claiming that the two, the efficient cause, and the effect, are simultaneous. That seemed very odd to me, so I thought I'd bring this to your attention. Now you seem to agree with me, they are not simultaneous, one is temporally prior to the other.

    Take it another way. The pencil is the cause of a point on the paper. The pencil touching the paper, and a point appearing on the paper are simultaneous, not temporarily separate.Agustino

    But now I see that you are still trying to argue otherwise. "The pencil touching the paper" is a description of an activity, and this activity is necessarily prior in time to what is referred to as "a point appearing on the paper". They are not simultaneous. Try it yourself. You will never get the point to appear simultaneously with the pencil touching the paper, because until the pencil moves out of the way you will not see a point on the paper.
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